Smart grid, wholesale services targets of KAMO Power fiber-optic network

KAMO Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KAMO Power) of Oklahoma is using a 2700-route-mile fiber-optic network to support its smart grid initiative and provide retail and wholesale business services, including mobile backhaul. The network leverages BTI 7000 Series packet optical platforms from BTI Systems.

KAMO Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KAMO Power) of Oklahoma is using a 2700-route-mile fiber-optic network to support its smart grid initiative and provide retail and wholesale business services, including mobile backhaul. The network leverages BTI 7000 Series packet optical platforms from BTI Systems.

KAMO Power is a generation and transmission cooperative that serves 17 member distribution cooperatives throughout northeast Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. In addition to providing power for these distribution co-ops, KAMO Power has also provided them communications services, according to the power company’s CTO, Walter Kenyon. The communications network has evolved from analog microwave links to digital fiber-optic transmission.

Looking for an additional revenue stream, KAMO Power decided to create a communications services company that would sell access to the network’s excess capacity and provide Ethernet-based business services. The resultant wholly owned subsidiary, K-PowerNet LLC, is a licensed CLEC in Oklahoma and an interexchange carrier in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. It has several large retail and wholesale customers, Kenyon says. Unlike some other utilities that also are using their networks to supply commercial communications and smart grid services, KAMO Power does not offer fiber to the home (FTTH) based residential services.

The success of K-PowerNet and the increasing demands of its partner co-ops have led KAMO Power to upgrade the fiber-optic network several times. The company now uses several elements of the BTI 7000 Series; in fact, Kenyon says his company is awaiting deliveries of its first reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) units. The company also benefits from BTI’s proNX Service Manager.

The networks’ two purposes complement each other well, Kenyon says; improvements in the network driven by one use benefits the other. For example, the network touches most of KAMO Power’s substations, enabling the company to provide rapid SCADA data transmission. The network enables KAMO Power to reduce outage times and make better decisions regarding other elements of its power supply business. Several of these fiber links also support video surveillance of the sites, where copper-theft has become a growing problem.

The network currently supports 10-Gbps data rates. However, Kenyon says he can already foresee a need for 100-Gbps capabilities.

Joel Daly, director of utilities solutions at BTI, believes companies such as KAMO Power represent a growth opportunity, as more utilities turn to fiber-optic networks to support their smart grid and other internal requirements as well as create new revenue streams.

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